“Computer makers are developing strategies and devices to challenge Apple Inc.’s iPad, hoping to capitalize on new interest in a category of gadgets that was moribund until recently,” Justin Scheck and Nick Wingfield report for The Wall Street Journal. “In the next few weeks, executives from Hewlett-Packard Co. will meet in the U.S. and Taiwan to tweak prices and features on an upcoming keyboardless computer dubbed the Slate, said two people familiar with the matter.”
“H-P has discussed selling a version of the Slate—similar to the iPad in size and features, and including a cellular connection—for a price below the $629 Apple charges for an equivalent iPad, one of these people said,” Scheck and Wingfield report. “Executives at Dell Inc., Acer Inc. and Sony Corp. say they are all watching Apple as they refine their own products.”
“For years, big hardware and software makers like H-P and Microsoft tried unsuccessfully to turn consumers on to touch-screen portable PCs, though some had keyboards and not all were called tablets,” Scheck and Wingfield report. “A 2001 tablet from Compaq (since acquired by H-P) flopped, and a pronouncement that year by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates that tablets would be the most popular form of PC by 2006 never came to pass. Today, touch-screen PCs with and without keyboards account for less than 1% of world-wide PC sales, according to market research firm Gartner.”
Scheck and Wingfield report, “But the gadgets have gotten renewed attention since Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs revealed the iPad last month. The device, with a 9.7-inch screen, no keyboard, and a wireless Internet hookup, is geared for navigating the Web, reading electronic books and running applications created by others. The iPad, which comes in models priced between $499 and $829, will start shipping in March.”
MacDailyNews Take: And nothing will ever be the same, no matter what the cut-rate, lowball, derivative and tasteless PC box assemblers cobble together.
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Peter Svensson reports for The Associated Press, “While there will be a lot of hardware to choose from, the software for smartbooks and tablets needs work. The PC version of Windows doesn’t work on cell phone-style chips, and in any case, isn’t designed for small screens. So manufacturers are mostly turning to Android. But Google didn’t intend Android to run on screens that are bigger than cell phones. Google doesn’t allow Android’s online library of applications, the equivalent of the iPhone’s App Store, to be accessed from smartbooks because it fears the applications won’t work well on large screens.”
Full article here.